I had a few things I wanted to talk about on MHR Radio last night, but, well, some issues arose that prohibited me from doing the show. Instead of waiting another week to talk about them I decided to do it the old-fashioned way -- blog about it. These thoughts are entirely random so forgive me if they jump around.
What do Peyton Manning, the Pacific Ocean and the Pittsburgh Steelers have to do with the direction of the Denver Broncos? Easy. In 2005, after losing the AFC Championship Game to the Steelers, Mike Shanahan won the priveledge of coaching the AFC Pro Bowl team in Hawaii. His starting QB that week was Peyton Manning. I have long claimed that Jake Plummer's struggles against the Steelers, combined with having an up-close look at Manning, were the driving factors in Shanahan's decision to trade up in the 2006 NFL Draft and get Jay Cutler. That move, of course, changed the direction of the franchise forever.
Fast forward 3 years, and it has come full circle. Jay Cutler earned the right to attend his first Pro Bowl, and is joined in Hawaii by starter Peyton Manning. Cutler seems to be taking it all in, and he should. While Peyton knows to enjoy this game, as he should, he is also the ultimate competitor. He is a little like John Elway in that manner. I could see Manning battling to the death in a game of foos ball. He just has that fire in his gut that all the great ones have, the 'IT' that is the difference from the guys who have the physical ability and those that do something with it.
That will have to rub off on Cutler. Just watching how Manning goes about his business, how he interacts with the players and coaches from other teams, how he prepares, even in a glorified exhibition. This is going to be an excellent experience for Cutler and will help his growth as a starting QB in the NFL.
Like I said, Peyton Manning gets it. He gets that part of all of this is to be a mentor for the younger QBs. Does he have to? No. But that is what makes Manning great. Just another reason I can't stand Brett Favre. Let's face it, after all the knee issues last summer, Peyton would have every justified reason to have skipped the game in order to rest. He didn't, because he gets it. Favre, at some point, decided a free vacation in Hawaii was beneath him. Bad teammate, bad guy. Of course, Brett won't stay out of the limelight forever. Another showdown about where he will play next year is about to begin.
Let's move on to the Super Bowl. I try not to be held captive by the present. What that means is that I try to wait a little while before making 'absolute' statements about events instead of knee-jerking. Immediately after Super Bowl XLIII, you were hearing comments that it was the best Super Bowl ever. That, my friends, is simply foolish. Super Bowl XLIII was actually horrible for 3 quarters. Yes, there were some exciting plays, the Harrison Pick-6, for instance, but a few shining moments do not a great game make.
Think about it, as the 3rd quarter came to a close, the score was 20-7 Pittsburgh, there was a penalty called on almost every play, both teams couldn't convert chances in the Red Zone, and I was getting ready to call it a night. Only the Steelers' failure to put the game away with multiple chances inside the Cardinals 20 kept my interest. As Broncos fans, we know better than anyone. DO NOT SETTLE FOR FIELD GOALS! Every time the Broncos do, they pay for it. The Steelers did as well for most of the night, and they nearly paid dearly for it.
Yes, the fourth quarter was filled with excitement, and the final two TD drives, one by each team, were great, but Super Bowl XLIII, as a whole, doesn't make my Top-5.
John Elway was the most elusive QB I have ever seen. I am not talking about pure running ability. I am talking about the ability to escape pressure, keep plays alive and make something out of nothing. Ben Roethlisberger might be the closest thing to Elway since John retired. Big Ben wears #7 because Elway was his hero growing up, and he plays a lot like Elway in the pocket. Elway did run more than Ben, but his preference was to elude pressure, while still looking down field. Ben's arm isn't as strong, but there were times in the Super Bowl that Ben simply refused to get sacked. It is a 6th sense in a lot of ways, something Elway had as well.
Enough with the 'Kurt Warner is a Hall of Famer' talk. I mean, come on!. What Warner has done is take advantage of great players. In St. Louis it was Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. In Arizona it's Larry Fitzgerald and Anquon Boldin. Oh yea, then there is the fact that he's done it in controlled environments -- dome stadiums. Even his first 2 Super Bowls were played indoors. Kurt has won a lot of games in the NFL, but he IS NOT a Hall of Famer.
Feel free to chime in and I hope to have MHR Radio back up and running next week!